Not only is Ladytron’s Danny Hunt knackered after a recent flight back from New York, but some pesky Gigwise journalist is trying to lure him into some band-baiting in a vain attempt to create a Bravery v Killers slanging match, something that is always worth a go. He gently says, “I haven’t got the energy to hate anything. Are you trying to get me to slag someone off?” Would we?
To top it all off, John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon slated his band's new single and accompanying video on this weekend’s Popworld, the gem in T4’s hangover TV crown. Out of the three singles Lydon reviewed, his favourite was Liberty X’s new song, leaving Ladytron and Goldfrapp the losers of the week releases. This comes from the man who was once goaded into saying “fuck” on primetime by Bill Grundy in 1976. The punk spirit is alive and well, dear readers! Hunt barely musters “I always preferred Sham 69 anyway. I never rated the cockney rejects. The guy’s credibility ran out in 1985, so I’m not really arsed about that”. Could this be the start of Hunt v Lydon?
Danny and his fellow Ladytron fella Reuben Wu have just returned from a five-date DJ-ing tour of various New York venues. “New York was great, it’s really busy at the moment ‘cos of Fashion Week and stuff, so there were loads of really good parties”. Despite returning to the fair shores of Blighty less than two days ago, Ladytron have already recorded an Xfm session and now face a barrage of interviews.
For those not in the know, Ladytron comprise of Hunt and Reuben Wu who play keyboards and rhythm box respectively behind ice-maiden vocalists Helena Marnie and Mira Aroyo. They've just released the second single from their much
anticipated third album ‘Witching Hour’. The single, ‘Destroy Everything You Touch’ is an icy, dense, enveloping affair with warming vocals over cryogenic synths. Although excited about its release, Hunt isn’t particularly bothered by the trivialities of chart positions and critical review. “It’s out of our hands now really. I’m more interested in the impact that it makes. Chart positions are the label’s thing to be concerned about”.
The video for ‘Destroy Everything You Touch’ has an atmospheric, snowy alpine theme and sees the four members of Ladytron transformed into mountain scapes, a look complete with geisha girl lips. “It’s all real, everything was done against a blue screen so everything you see is pretty much the real thing. It was quite difficult to film because it was the day after the London bombs on 7th July, so the whole thing was nearly cancelled but we went ahead with it because someone had had to build the whole mountain set and we didn’t want to be rude. It ended up being a 22 hour video shoot. I’ve never been bothered about videos and stuff before, our videos have always been there and they have been alright but this is the first time that I have ever thought that it was special. There is something very otherworldly about this one”.
‘Witching Hour’ has been ready for release for almost a year but due to label changes and various other factors, the release was held back until October. A good sign is that Danny has been listening to the album on his iPod since it was completed and still isn’t bored of it. It promises “a natural progression” from ‘Light and Magic’. Danny’s laid-back Liverpudlian lilt continues “We don’t wanna repeat ourselves, even across the space of an album. People have been saying that it’s identifiable as a Ladytron record. When you play the old records in comparison, they sound a lot smaller”. It was recorded in their home-city of Liverpool because “being out of town for so long, Liverpool started to feel quite exotic”.
The band, who appear to have been named after an epilator but who in fact take their name from a Roxy Music track, are nothing if not stylised. Their look is all angular fringes and black jumpers, the girls adding a dash of cold East-Berlin sex-appeal (if there is such a thing) with the boys looking deep and wistful at the back. Their sound is something harder to define. A lot of genre-labelling gets bandied about with this lot, with such weird and wonderful pigeon-holing like kitsch, electro new-wave, retro-futurist, electromagnetic and kraut-rock being mentioned in some reviews. Danny prefers not to brand their sound. “Not having a genre makes it difficult for people to categorise you, and that can either work in your favour or against you. We felt as a four that we never wanted to be part of a scene, we wanted to be part of something that didn’t exist yet”.
Ladytron are following up the release of ‘Witching Hour’ with an 11 date tour with plans to head to Spain and China before the end of the year. While on the tour bus, they are trying to stay away from all music communally, “unless there is something particularly inspirational, either old or new”. However, he is currently listening to the Clor album and an American band scarily named ‘She Wants Revenge’.
The highlight of this year for Danny and the other three quarters of Ladytron has been a toss-up between their appearance at Benicassim in Spain and the Exit Festival in Serbia. “It’s a close run, Benicassim was just amazing, the tent was full and we had two or three thousand people watching us and the Spanish crowds are always so responsive. But then in Serbia, we were playing to 40,000 people because not a lot of bands go there yet and the audience really appreciate that you have chosen to go there, there is a positivity to the place”.
As the interview nears its end, Danny appears to be so tired he is practically comatose, bless ‘im. Pity the poor hack’s who quizzed the sometime moustachioed one after Gigwise, they probably only got some jet-lagged snores on their Dictaphones.